“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”
I have a lot of favorite attributes of Christ. I like His sense of humor, His disinterest in mincing words in table-flipping moments, His comfort in pointing out flaws in his church’s culture while remaining faithful to its doctrine, and His desire to put individuals before what the handbook says. But one of my very favorites is His ability to listen. I love this attribute because I have experienced it firsthand. He is especially good at listening when I’m hurting, or maybe I’m just especially good at talking to Him when I’m hurting. Either way, He is especially good at listening. Never does He interrupt me with how I am wrong or what I should be doing differently. He just listens.
We are in difficult phase in Church history and culture. There are a lot of members of the Church who currently feel pain due to cultural practices, teachings, and/or the administration of the faithful they hold so dear. LGBTQ+ members are in an especially difficult place.
When I was sixteen I spent a summer living with a gay couple. As I have grown I have had a few chats with a couple of my gay friends about their experiences as gay Mormons. For years I’ve told myself that these small interactions gave me … I guess… gay street cred? Like somehow, I understood the Gay LDS experience without REALLY taking time to listen to them. Recently, a mission friend and her girlfriend were kind enough to go to dinner with me and my boyfriend and share some their experiences.
Their words broke our hearts and inspired us. LISTENING to gay Mormons has blessed us, opened our eyes, and helped us better understand Christ’s love. I can’t begin to comprehend much of their experience, but I know I feel greater compassion and love by trying. I can’t wait to think more about what they taught me and to figure out how to act!
I think it is safe to say, all people appreciate being listened to. When someone holds space for you to share your heart without judgement or unsought instruction, you can’t help but feel the pure love of Christ because that is what He would do.
Maybe consider reaching out to someone close to you who has been struggling with the Church for whatever reason and just listen to them. If you need to say anything to them, let them know that you love them, you appreciate them, and there is always a place next to you in the pews.